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Item 8417 - Late 1920's "Bambino" Tobacco Tin with Silhouette of Babe Ruth Catalog 542 (Feb 2019)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $1,000.00
Sold Price: $5,271.60 (includes buyer's premium)


With his immense power and bold personality, Babe Ruth began changing the way the game of baseball was played, with Ruth breaking multiple baseball records and becoming a very highly paid household name throughout the country. When Ruth was asked if he should be making more in salary than the president, Ruth exclaimed, 'Well, I had a better year than he did!' With every home run hit and World Series Championships won, the 'selling' of Ruth began in earnest with the Babe endorsing virtually any product imaginable. Babe Ruth was the leading commercial promoter in the world and his image adorned products for decades. After his departure from Boston, and rise to stardom in New York, the greatest city in the world, the demand for Ruth endorsements escalated to unprecedented heights. Then, in the mid '20s, when the first super agent, Christy Walsh, entered his life, Ruth began to generate even more enormous sums of money.

The pastime of pipe smoking has greatly diminished in the past few decades, but in the 1920s and 30's almost every distinguished gentleman enjoyed lounging around, puffing on their pipes, discussing the current events of the day. Ruth was a heavy smoker, so it was natural he entered the pipe smoking industry with the "Bambino" brand of smoking tobacco. While endorsing a product he surely felt proud to be associated with, judging from the paucity of known tobacco tin examples today, the 'Bambino' brand was not an industry leader. However, it did put a few extra shekels into the Ruth war chest. Aside from the "BAMBINO" banner, the silhouette of the Babe in his classic home run swing follow-through was clear recognition of his tremendous identity throughout the land, even without the nickname header.

Most tins seen today are in deplorable condition, with large areas of oxidation, dents, dings, heavy scratches and even rust. However, this offered example has survived almost a full century in as grand a fashion as the Babe himself. Hailing from the iconic Bill Mastro Collection, comes the nicest surviving example extant. Mastro himself was one of the most condition conscious collectors this hobby has seen, and he had come across virtually every single baseball collectible every produced, and only kept the highest grade of each item he found. The condition of this Bambino tin is unparalleled, and it is doubtful a finer example exists. Conservatively we assess the condition as Excellent to Mint, with intense visual appeal. Bright and clean, this tin exhibits only a marginal amount of wear, with only a few scratches and two very light indentations on the reverse. Our catalog photos clearly show this tin will dominate even the most advanced collector showcase displays.

An LOA accompanies this tin, proclaiming its provenance from Bill Mastro's personal collection, auctioned off in 2010 by Legendary Auctions in Chicago. Mastro's collection was heavy in Babe Ruth items, and also elite in terms of overall condition. This was one of the many Ruth items treasured by the original owner, a highly desirable piece of baseball memorabilia with Ruthian significance.

Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.


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